My best blog post ideas often come from the questions I receive via email, and a very common question is whether or not the cash-based business model is applicable and viable in PT subspecialties other than outpatient orthopedics. I recently received just such a question about pediatrics…
Is it possible to have a cash-based pediatric practice? How would this differ from your practice and what would you generally suggest for someone looking to do this?
I have heard of pediatric practices with a high percentage of cash-pay patients, but not a 100% cash-based pediatric clinic (though I’m guessing they exist). A relevant lesson I’ve learned in my physical therapy practice is that parents are often willing to pay much more out of pocket for their children’s treatment than they would for their own. I have plenty of middle and high school athletes as patients, whose parents I can tell would never forgo using insurance for their own treatment. However, when it comes to little Sally playing in that weekend’s playoff volleyball game, they’re willing to bring her in three times in one week if they’re confident my treatments are the fastest way to get her back in the game. So I’m guessing that even with the fact that pediatric patients often need longer-term care and a high number of total treatments, you can carve a niche and attract enough clientele to be successful.
Many of the same marketing principles used by cash-based orthopedic clinics still apply when considering a cash-pay pediatric clinic. Marketing longer one-on-one treatment times, and perhaps even home-based visits, should be considered. I would also consider targeting the more affluent areas of your city.
There is one marketing method that anyone starting a private-pay pediatric clinic should make a top priority: a content-rich and helpful blog about the different conditions you treat, and the things that parents can do to help their children themselves. Parents of children who need PT are avid online researchers, and this will likely bring in a lot of business over time. Never worry about giving away so much information that they will not need your services. Providing that information will establish you as a trusted expert, and they will almost always prefer for you to provide the care and be an in-person guide.
This is an area where video can really convey the information much better than text alone (depending on the topic), so create Youtube videos and embed those videos into your website’s blog posts wherever possible. You don’t have to buy an expensive camera or spend a ton of money in video production. It’s really about providing useful content, so if the information is good, they will be forgiving if the quality is not ultra-professional. Just make sure the content is valuable and actionable, and they can see and hear everything clearly. They will repay you with loyalty and scheduled appointments.
If you have a cash-based pediatric clinic (or a high percentage of private-pay pediatric patients), please leave a comment and let us know what has worked for you.